By Todd Krygsheld –
We wish they would just go away. We refer to them as “those people.”
Some of “those people” stand on corners holding signs that say “Homeless, Need Help.” What kind of help do they need? If we’re honest, we’re probably thinking, “A swift kick in the pants to get them moving.” At best, we pity them.
Perhaps we do want to help but don’t know how. The Holland Rescue Mission, committed to real change for people, is on a community-wide campaign to educate people on “Real Change, Not spare Change.” This campaign is designed to educate our community to a compassionate response to panhandlers, to respond as Jesus would.
In the midst of the campaign, I received a call from a couple who encountered two panhandlers at Burger King. They purchased a meal and took time to listen to the mens’ stories. Then the men asked for money. The couple directed them to The Mission.
Then they made a call that I was privileged to answer. The wife shared their encounter and inquired, “How much does it cost to ‘help’ a person for a night at the Mission?” “Help” defined as real change of life style… a safe place to stay, food, clothing, job training, money management, accountability, opportunity for personal and spiritual growth…. not temporary relief from spare change.
Learning the cost, they responded, “We’d like to donate enough to cover the cost of two people for two weeks.”
“Thank you, “ I replied, “You treated these men with dignity, value, worth and pointed them to a path of real change. Thank you for truly helping. We need more people in our community like you.”… more people who respond as Jesus would in our neighborhoods by listening, showing compassion, offering hope and the chance for lasting change.